Leader of Human Genome Project to speak at UF

Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and leader of the Human Genome Project, will discuss “Genomics, Medicine and Society” at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy Complex auditorium, 101 S. Newell Drive, at the University of Florida Health Science Center campus.

The public is invited to attend the presentation, which keynotes Florida Genetics 2008, the annual symposium of the UF Genetics Institute. It will also be featured live on Oct. 29 as a Webcast on the UFGI Web site at http://www.ufgi.ufl.edu/.

Collins is widely known for leading the enterprise that successfully mapped and sequenced the human genome, a project that many scientists say rivals the importance of the completion of the periodic table of elements. A working draft of the human genome sequence was announced in June of 2000, an initial analysis was published in February 2001, and a high-quality, reference sequence was completed in April 2003, according to the NHGRI.

On Aug. 1, Dr. Collins left his position as director of NHGRI to explore other writing and professional opportunities. He continues with the NHGRI as a special volunteer with the division of intramural research and works to promote the translation of the new trove of sequence data into tools and strategies to advance biological knowledge and improve human health.

The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award, Dr. Collins obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a doctorate in physical chemistry from Yale University, and a medical degree from the University of North Carolina.

Following a fellowship in human genetics at Yale, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he remained until moving to the NIH in 1993. His research has led to the identification of genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes and the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

For more information about Florida Genetics 2008, please call 352-273-8100 or visit www.ufgi.ufl.edu.